Sports Magazine

Just Enough Education to Perform

By Thebhoymcclay @thebhoymcclay7
Just Enough Education to Perform

Young James Forrest takes the plaudits from the sensational Hoops faithful

“I’d like to shoot you all” is the follow-up line from that song and during the first forty-five in Leith last night, a few Celtic fans would have been uttering similar sentiments at their own players. Another dire start to a game in which you would feel highly confident going into, led you too wonder what mindset these players were in.

The Celtic gaffer promised a mauling was to be served up to the next team who showed vulnerability, and in the second half Celtic could smell blood – in the away dressing room at half time they would’ve been licking their wounds (or switching to your match-turning boots in James Forrest’s’ case). In the top left corner, it certainly looked like a lesson was dished out – but Neil Lennon will again be scratching his head at how poorly and disorganised the Bhoys appeared in the first half. Only a Fraser Forster block before the whistle stopped Celtic going in two nil behind, and especially in a cup tie, you have to wonder what effect that would have on the players psyche and if they would have regrouped as well.

My good friend @daviep83, labelled it the worst 45 in a cast list as long as Lurch’s arm, and its hard to fathom what the problem is with the players and motivation at kick off – perhaps Lennon should give his half time team talk pre-match. The polar opposite was a major theme running through Martin O’Neill’s Celtic side, and the lift an early goal gave the crowd and players was usually enough to have depleted the oppositions’ resolve aswell. I would love for once for Celtic take the second half thunder, and pressurise the opponents from the first whistle – this would in essence relieve some of the pressure on the boss and his backroom staff as the Bhoys in attack and midfield have shown their potential firepower.

Hooper

A beaming Gary Hooper - a sight I want to see much more of!

The one defining positive from the night was Gary Hooper getting on the score sheet – a mere statue in the first half, the Englishman gave the ball away with almost every touch and also managed to miss a glaring opportunity from within the six yard box from a Beram Kayal cross. The majority of Hoopers performances this season have given cause for concern and it wasn’t long before a question mark over his happiness and loyalty to the Celtic cause were brought up. The free scoring, lively frontman has cut a forlorn figure in attack and only a handful of strikes against SPL teams is not good enough for a forward at Celtic – last night another glimmer of his undoubted ability will hopefully have his confidence reignited.

James Forrest, the young wide player has shown his more experienced counterparts up with his sheer grit & determination and last night he got his reward. The first a great strike from the angle of the box, and the second, my favourite of the two, a clinical finish following a neat run and one two with Tony Stokes. The goals from the midfield could well be telling when the silverware is handed out in May – Ki, Ledley and the clubs current top scorer wearing no 49 have contributed the most to the cause so far this campaign.  Inconsistency in defence, due to injury and poor form has cost us dearly at the back – I hope young Thomas Rogne can continue his solid showing last night against Hibs again at the weekend. The Norwegian centre back did one thing in the first half which I have been looking for nearly all season – he came out of defence and attacked a high ball with gusto and purpose midway in his own half which immediately took the ball right back deep into Hibernian territory.

Our opponents last night, have only won five competitive games since July -Colin Calderwood is probably the most under pressure manager in Scotland besides Neil Lennon. They also love conceding goals, so last nights second half capitulation wasn’t a surprise to many regulars at Easter Road. The team directly above them, only with better goal difference, were three nil up on us a week and a half ago – Celtic have taken over a month to get back to winning ways, a slog and a battle it has been but hopefully our newly found fighting qualities can lead us to a sustained run of victories.

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